All Posts by Nancy Carlson

Fair Winning Pumpkins are For Everyone

"Just one pumpkin", that is what I read recently in a book. The author was talking about growing an prize winning pumpkin. You know the huge kind that take up an entire back of a pick up truck and have to be lifted there by a crane. HUGE.

As I was reading that I immediately thought how could I apply that principle to my nutrition?

The author went on to say it could be just one pound that separates the grand prize from all the rest but that one pound was the key. 

I was hooked by then. My brain was racing. Of course this applies to eating and health and nutrition and building habits. All I needed to do was to find my 'pumpkin'. What did I want to increase in my life so that it shined. I wanted that prize winning pumpkin. 

Well I don't really want to add weight onto my body. That certainly wasn't what I was going to focus on. I did want to increase my strength. Could I do that? Of course, I needed to focus on picking up heavier weights in training with good form. CHECK

That 'pumpkin' didn't really sit well with me. I always try to increase my workload while in the gym. I wanted to win a prize mentally. I want to do something that I find difficult. I wanted to lose body fat while getting stronger. Now that really strikes a cord inside me. I want to be totally happy with how I look for me. This was going to be my 'pumpkin'.

Now back to growing an actual award winning pumpkin. After the farmer finds the pumpkin (my body composition change) he puts all his energy and focus into making that one pumpkin prize winning. He develops and executes his plan.

In other words, as the farmer of my pumpkin, I am going to create a plan, prepare, and focus daily on changing my body composition. I gave myself four weeks of focus time. I was going to do one thing each day to make myself reach that goal. I was going to mentally achieve and physically strive towards losing body fat. 

Here's my plan: Daily I am going to eat Protein, Produce, and water at each meal. (PPW). I am choosing to leave everything else off of my plate if it doesn't fit that criteria. My new mantra: PPW only. 

Here is what you can do:

Linus welcomes the great pumpkin

  1. Look inside or out for your prize winning pumpkin. Remember it needs to sit well with you and your values. What do you really want to win a prize at doing/being?
  2. Cultivate that pumpkin. Develop a plan that you can execute daily in order to reach your goal. Remember your goal is to grow your pumpkin so your plan is the actions you'll consistently do to get there. 
  3. Daily deliver your plan to your pumpkin. Getting side tracked won't help your focus so do  one thing and do it really Really REALLY well
  4. The growing season doesn't last forever. Give yourself a time frame when you'll measure and obtain that prize. 
  5. Seek help and get some accountability. The best farmers have already asked others for their advice and done loads of research. You too need to develop a plan that will help you best. Find a coach. (pssst..... that is what I do best- ask me)

I plan on winning my mental prize this time around. I don't just hope to win, I'm planning on it. I know its going to take work. I know if I miss a day, it will set me back but I am choosing not to let a setback stunt my pumpkin patch from winning.

What is your pumpkin? How are you going to make it a prize winner?

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Back To School

In my school days I was pretty much on cruise control.

I didn’t study.  I was proficient at cramming. Nose in the book 15 minutes before test time and wow, a fairly good grade was the outcome.

My motto in school was to enjoy life. I had more important things to do than be stuck in a library studying.

Even with that laid back attitude I still kept my 3.5 through high  school and in college a 3.65 (just shy of what Dean achieved). 

Schools don’t really require you to learn to be disciplined.

You can get by and do just fine.

However – personal health and fitness are another story.

Try going through the motions in a sport practice and you’ll never see the field in  a game.

Fail to perform for a couple of weeks and someone else gets your position.

Sports/Fitness training require the same type of discipline that a long healthy life requires.

You can’t just squeak by. You have to push and push hard. You have to be spot on with your skills and dedication. You have to eat to ensure the best performance in practice so your coach notices and puts you in the line up for the big game. ‘Slacking off’ is not in an athlete’s vocabulary.

So what does that mean for you and me?

Lets apply that to our overall health and well being. How do you want your life to be? Would you like to sit on the sidelines and watch things happen or do you want to make it happen? Each training day a challenge. A challenge to push harder, lift more, be faster.

What about our eating and nutrition? Sure you can go for a while eating sugar and fast food. It will catch up with you. That is the danger. Our bodies are so good at handling toxic substance that the wear and tear and mushroom top doesn’t show up right away. We’ve formed bad habits and we don’t see the pain immediately.

Here is where you need to realize food is fuel. Give your body everything it needs to perform at peak performance and you’ll be rewarded. But the old saying applies, “garbage in, garbage out”.

What are you training for? What are you eating for? For me I am training to live and live well.

No guarantees, but I am doing my best to stack the odds in my favor.

You coming with me?

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Laurie is Surviving Cancer

I have some people near and dear to my heart dealing with cancer. At the mention of cancer, my ears perk up as I want to help, empathize, and do all I can to support those dealing with cancer. When Laurie first told me about her diagnosis, her next sentence was that she was a fighter and she'd deal with this. 

She brings joy to my heart as someone who fights and continues to pursue better health along the way. She shared with me how Cr8 Fitness has helped her.  

Going through cancer has a way of making you take stock of all that is important. Thank you Laurie from the bottom of my heart for making us part of your "important list"

A Super Proud Coach,

Coach Nancy

And the Winner is……

The 6:15am crew squeaked out a win by 34 points. There prize will be determined when we get back from recovery week. I see pulled pork in their future.

All training crews had a ton of fun and did an enormous amount of work pushing, pulling, skiing, and carrying heavy stuff in August. 

While everyone who earned points for their training time enjoyed the benefits of the challenge, there could be only one winner. 

I need to mention some great things I saw during this challenge. I saw camaraderie displayed as people cheered on, helped and encouraged those working. I saw perseverance,   Scott D. from the 4pm training time had the most individual points earned with 240. That is 103 from second place. 

The 5am skied each Friday because one of their crew is recovery from cancer treatments. They skied for her.

The 9am had the biggest crew pushing, pulling, skiing, and walking around with heavy stuff. Often it was their first time pushing or pulling the sled. To see their face when they successfully completed a lap- priceless to this coach. 

We even took it outside at times. The weather can be brutally hot in August but at times, we could be out to check out the new sign on the road while carrying Kettlebells. I wish I could have heard the conversation of those driving by. 

Congratulations to all who Made This Happen!

I can't wait for next year. Who's in? 

Proud of ya'll,

Coach Nancy

You Make a Difference

Cr8 Fitness is around because of you. Dean and I do what we do each day because of you. You are a piece of our lives, we love dearly. 

We don't want you ever to forget how important you are. At times it is even sweeter to hear it from others. You make a difference when you get into training. That difference is seen in yourself and in those you train with. 

Take it from KIm at the 9am Ladies crew, You Matter!

This is a group of ladies you would love to train with. 

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Cr8 Happy- Starting with Yourself

Be Happy With Yourself!

Don’t live your life trying to be perfect, because you’re not!

There is a philosophy that permeates the Japanese culture – “Kaizen”.

It means “Constant and Never Ending Improvement”.

It doesn’t mean perfection…

But it doesn’t mean satisfied with mediocrity either.

To me it means never letting your highs get too high or your lows too low.

To evaluate what you are doing right and to keep doing it.

To discover what needs improvement and getting better at it.

To live each day with purpose and make a difference in the lives of those around you.

I challenge you to live “Kaizen”…

I challenge you to focus on the positives…

I Challenge You To Be Happy Today!

Can you Cr8 Happy?

​To Your Best Health,

​Coach Nancy

Give Yourself Some Credit

Are you headed in the right direction? Do you see 'some' progress?

If you have lost  1 pound, you need to embrace the progress. If you can pick up more than you used to, you are succeeding. If you can get down on the floor and back up easier, you are heading in the right direction. 

One thing that makes me smile in the middle of training is seeing progress. I see it when you pick up the 16k kettlebell for the first time, or use a green band instead of the purple. I've seen people that were unable to get on the floor to being on the floor regularly. Others have come in after a long time of inactivity and find renewed movement. Progress makes me smile.

I would encourage you to ask those around you what they have seen in their own lives. It will make you smile.

 But don't leave with just a smile on your face. Share back with them what you are seeing, feeling, and noticing, make them smile too.

 It is possible to make your goals happen, when you are dedicated and persevere.

We all start with that first pound lost. We all notice we are getting stronger before losing the weight. 

Give yourself the credit you are due. Then use that to push yourself to greater consistency. 

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

How Perfect Do I have to be with my Nutrition to Get Results?

....... and still get results?

The question was prompted as the questioner looked through my Facebook posts and noticed that birthday cake was eaten at some point this week. Isn’t that “non-compliant” with the food plan? 

Shouldn’t Nancy be flogged in the public square?

Before I answer, consider this – Are your goals and my goals the same?

Now I know you don’t know her specific goals, so I’ll frame it this way – Will the goals of a woman who is 5′ 7″ tall, weighs 135 pounds and has between 16 and 18% bodyfat going to be the same as a woman who is 5′ 7″  weighs 190 pounds and carries 30% bodyfat? (this is a hypothetical woman, not the questioner)

Of course the answer is no. There can be a significant difference in nutrition specifics because woman #2 needs to drop body fat, while I do not. In this case we need to separate the two questions “Am I eating to support my weight loss goals?” and “Am I getting all the Protein, vegetables, vitamins and healthy fats I need?”.  Make sense?

So here is (finally) the question and the answer I gave. It was a great question, and I appreciated it being asked. Let’s hear your thoughts and any followup questions you might have in the comments below.


Here I’ve been, wiping myself out to eat protein and veggies at EVERY meal….I can just snack smartly between meals and get all the veggies and protein I need three times a day or so….


Not sure it depends......

Fruit or yogurt or a small snack of mixed nuts is usually what I can easily find between the larger meals. This is “acceptable” or “compliant,” eh? Or am I on the right track (getting burned out) to eat so many veggies and protein each time I put something in my mouth?


I applaud your hard work and making some significant changes in your nutrition. Let’s back it up a bit. When it comes right down to it the most important thing is making your plan something you can live with – adding stress to the equation (getting burned out) is not what we are after.

Let’s talk about the reasons we are looking to get protein and vegetables in every time we eat. The typical American diet does not contain close to the amount of fruits and vegetables that is recommended in order to meet the nutritional requirements of a sedentary person, never mind someone like yourself who is training hard. The recommendation to eat veggies at each feeding is in order to help meet these requirements. I don’t know anybody (including myself) who eats too many vegetables. Eating protein, even a small amount, helps maintain blood sugar levels throughout the whole day and supports building lean tissue, which in turn helps raise your overall metabolism.

So that’s the theory and strategy. Now let’s talk reality. I have seen what compliance to a nutrition plan can do, and I believe it is optimal for rapid body composition change. That being said, what are the consequences of backing off that and developing a pattern of 3 solid protein/veggie meals and supportive snacks in between? The answer to that lies in the progress you achieve doing it that way, and we find that out with your weight and InBody measurements. So try the “new” plan for two weeks, take your measurements, and re-evaluate. If you are making the desired progress, we stay with it, if not something needs to change.

So August 31st is just over two weeks out. Take your measurements then and shoot me an email so we can re-evaluate. Sound like a plan? By the way save the date for learning all the in and outs with your InBody scan on September 

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Recovery Week is Coming

​Recovery week is scheduled for Monday, September 3rd – Friday, September 7th. We love to see each of you and we also know for  your best health and training ability we design “Rest” weeks into the training calendar. If you’ve trained with us for any length of time you’ve discovered the benefits and joys of recovery week in helping you progress onward and upward!

Steady Progress

So how can you best use recovery week?

You’ve already set aside the hour to train your body, ​Here​ are 20 different ways to use that hour during recovery week:

  1. Plan your meals and snacks for the week
  2. Find a new recipe and try it
  3. Have a massage at Chichester Massage and Body Works (remember Cr8 Fitness members receive a special price, just ask)
  4. Go for a hike with your family
  5. Roll on a tennis ball or better yet a LaCrosse ball
  6. Spend extra time with your kids and spouse
  7. Prepare your ingredients to make next week’s mealtime easier and faster
  8. Sleep in (especially for those crazy 5am-ers)
  9. Stretch
  10. Take a bike ride
  11. Have game night with your family
  12. Invite friends over for dinner
  13. Foam roll
  14. The dog needs some attention too
  15. Stretch with a purple band
  16. Go dancing
  17. Catch up on  your reading
  18. Do some activity that has been on your To Do list for a while
  19. Go Fishing
  20. Miss Cr8 Fitness terribly 🙂

​To your best health,

Coach Nancy

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